For the third time this season and just the fourth time in his career, midfielder Artur scored to help lift Columbus Crew SC to a 1-0 victory over the New England Revolution in the Eastern Conference Final as the Black & Gold head to their third MLS Cup in Club history.
Sunday's win over the Revolution marks the first time that Crew SC has advanced to MLS Cup since 2015, when Columbus finished as the runner-up to the Caleb Porter-led Portland Timbers.
The Crew is now positioned to host next Saturday's championship bout of the 2020 Audi MLS Cup Playoffs against either Minnesota United or the Seattle Sounders, who play on Monday (TV & streaming info).
Season Ticket Members will have access (based on availability), in priority waves based on tenure, to purchase tickets for the December 12th MLS Cup match through a Pre-Sale starting tomorrow, December 7. Season Ticket Members in the applicable on-sale waves will be eligible to purchase any available location in MAPFRE Stadium including locations outside of their current level/price point/location.
Capacity at MAPFRE Stadium for MLS Cup will again include a significantly reduced number of ticketed individuals in addition to friends and family of the team, and all individuals will be expected to follow guidelines outlined as part of the Club’s Responsible Restart Plan. No tailgating will be permitted in the MAPFRE Stadium parking lots. Supporters are also reminded that MAPFRE Stadium continues to be a cashless environment for the remainder of this year and supporters should be prepared to use a payment card for all in-stadium purchases, with Cash2Card machines available at the stadium.
As for Sunday's win, neither side managed to strike in the first half of the match, although Columbus had the better of the opportunities, with Lucas Zelarayan and Pedro Santos notably finding clean looks on goal that were denied by some stalwart goalkeeping from Matt Turner.
The Revs had their best opportunity of the first half in the 28th minute, when Carles Gil played a ball over the top to Adam Buksa down the left side, allowing the Polish striker to streak by Jonathan Mensah and rip a shot on goal, only to see it deflect off the near post.
The Crew found their breakthrough just before the hour mark after Zelarayan sent in a cross to the far post that was laid back off across the box by Mensah, allowing Artur to coolly slot home a first-time finish.
GOAL | Artur finishes a perfect cross and layoff from Zelarayan and Mensah
The hosts would continue to apply the pressure in the aftermath of the goal, with Zelarayan nearly doubling the lead in spectacular fashion just three minutes later with an audacious attempt from distance that beat Turner but was denied by the woodwork.
CHANCE | Zelarayan denied by the woodwork
The near-miss provided New England with a lifeline as they would press for an equalizer, but the Crew managed to bear down and see out the 1-0 final to crown themselves kings of the Eastern Conference for 2020.
CREW SC MATCH NOTES
by Crew SC Communications
- Midfielder Artur scored the game-winning goal in today’s Eastern Conference Final against the New England Revolution. The goal came after Lucas Zelarayan and Jonathan Mensah combined to set up Artur inside the box, with the Brazilian midfielder scoring in the 59th minute. The tally was Artur’s second goal scored in Audi MLS Cup Playoffs action, having previously scored in a 2017 MLS Cup Playoffs match against New York City FC (October 31). This year, Artur has scored three goals across all competitions, a single-season career-high for the midfielder.
- Crew SC captain Jonathan Mensah provided the game-winning assist in today’s Eastern Conference Final match against the New England Revolution. Mensah’s helper to Artur’s 59th-minute goal was the defender’s first-ever tally in Audi MLS Cup Playoffs action and only his second in both regular-season and postseason play.
- Midfielder Lucas Zelarayan provided the game-winning assist in today’s match against the New England Revolution when he sent a cross inside the box for Jonathan Mensah to pass to Artur, who netted the goal. The helper was Zelarayan’s fourth in Audi MLS Cup Playoffs matches this season, and tonight’s match marked the fourth consecutive contest in which he registered a goal or an assist.
- Goalkeeper Andrew Tarbell posted his second Audi MLS Cup Playoffs shutout in today’s match against the New England Revolution. Notably, the clean sheet was Tarbell’s second postseason win in his five seasons in the League, with the goalkeeper making three saves en route to the 1-0 victory.
- With the 1-0 win over the New England Revolution, Crew SC advances to its third MLS Cup in Club history. The Black & Gold previously played in two MLS Cups (2008, 2015) having won in the 2008 campaign. Additionally, tonight’s match marked the first time in Club history that the Crew has defeated the Revs in MLS postseason action.
- Up next, Crew SC is set to host the winner of Seattle Sounders FC and Minnesota United FC in MLS Cup on Saturday, December 12. The match will be broadcasted on FOX at 8:00 p.m. ET.